FROM MY HEART TO YOURS
Philippians 3:3-14: In this particular scripture, Paul is talking about real Jews and real circumcision –
Not circumcision in the flesh, but that in the heart. Those who are children of the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15:1-6), aren’t necessarily Jews by birth, but are also from all the gentile nations as well. All to whom it has been given to come in repentance to God the Father, and by faith to Jesus Christ; i.e., those who have been “chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before him.” Those whom “in love he has predestined to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:4,5). We who believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, both Jews and Gentiles, are the children of the promise given to Abraham.
In the scripture at the top of this page, from Philippians 3, Paul says, in effect: “Don’t brag about this! If you do think you have reason to brag, I have more reason! If confidence in the flesh were a valid thing, why, I’ve got more reason to have such confidence than all of the rest of you put together! I was a Pharisee; I persecuted the Church; I kept the law better than anybody! But, when Christ found me, and I believed in and received him, I counted all my past as nothing! In fact, I consider all of those things as worthless to me, now that I know Christ. Indeed, all of those things are lost to me, and I count them as nothing but dung. Nothing matters to me now, but Jesus Christ. I am in him, and my righteousness is not of the law, as I once erroneously believed it was; but my righteousness is of God by faith in Jesus Christ. O, that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death” (From Philippians 3:6 and following).
Sisters and brothers in Christ, that is exactly the way we should consider Jesus Christ at this time. In Him, we have everything. Putting the past behind, and looking ahead with renewed faith in Almighty God, and a belief that He can do anything, is what the church needs today. As my pastor, Dale Ritts says: ” We don’t believe in the work of the Holy Spirit as we should.” Now Dale’s not speaking of an inordinate foolish belief like you see displayed on television; but a Biblical belief that God can and will do what is needed to revive the churches today. That He will glorify Himself in the salvation and sanctification of precious souls. O, that we may truly know Christ; and the power of His resurrection!.
Yours, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; a sinner saved by grace,
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS
Luke 25:24-26: “Then he which had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew thee, that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.’ His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the changers, and then at my coming I should have received mine with usury.”
Recently, I read this parable of the talents, and was greatly convicted, because this is a pretty accurate picture of what I’ve done with my life. Instead of pouring my life and the talents God has given me into my Lord Jesus Christ and His Marvelous Gospel, I’ve literally buried them and gone my (not so) merry way. My notion, is that many of you have done the same thing.
However, our Lord is a merciful Lord! He’ll give us, as long as we’re still breathing, and have a mind to do so, an opportunity to dig our (his) talent up, and put it to use for His glory. Our God, is a God, not only of second chances, but perhaps of many chances. He is a forgiving God, and it’s His forgiveness that He wants us to convey to others in “the ministry of reconciliation,” that He has given us (2 Corinthians 5:18).
So: You, like me, may have buried your talent. Go dig it up! I have; and I’d like you to join me in renewed effort to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, perhaps you’ve been doing this all along and are satisfied that you’ve done so perfectly. If that is true, I must confess that I envy you. That is not however, true of me. I need a fresh breath of the Holy Spirit, and that’s what I’ve asked God to give me. Then I can sing with zeal and in truth: “I’ll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord, o’er mountain or plain, or sea. I’ll say what you want me to say, Dear Lord. I’ll be what you want me to be” (Carrie E. Rounsefell).
Yours for Christ and the Gospel, a sinner saved by grace,
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS
“BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FOR THEIR’S IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.”
So the Lord Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount. But who are the “poor in spirit?” The poor in spirit are those who acknowledge their sin before God, and call on Christ as Savior and Lord. You may think that simplifies things too much; but God always makes things simple for us. It is we who are hard on one another.
Knowing that we are spiritually bankrupt; and, subsequently learning to fear God, is the “Beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). When we are born again, we come in “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Being “poor in spirit,” is what enables us to acknowledge the grace of God. It is what causes us to realize, as our spiritual poverty is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the hearing of God’s Word, that we must call on the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation (Romans 10:9-17). All of this is by grace, every bit of it. It’s “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5,6).
As God makes clear through His Holy Word, the Bible: Salvation is by grace alone; through faith alone; in Jesus Christ alone; as He is revealed in Holy Scripture alone; to the praise and glory of God alone. There is salvation in no one or nothing else. Works can’t save us; attending church can’t save us; sacraments can’t save us. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him who is athirst, come. And, whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). This is the way of salvation of which the “Poor in spirit” take hold!
With love in the Lord Jesus, from a sinner saved by grace,